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Full Of Helpful

| Marion, OH, USA | At The Checkout, Family & Kids, Holidays

(I have a birth defect called Phocomelia; my arms are short and I don’t have hands, but I get by decently well. To avoid an extra stress I tend to go to the store late at night or early morning. I go late, as with four shopping days left until Christmas I know I can’t handle the extra large crowds that were made up of people who love to stare. I have gotten good at ignoring those around me unless they are in my way and in line of sight. I was putting my items on the belt and was in my own world. I hear a man and kids talking, but don’t think anything of it, until the two little girls come up to me.)

Older Girl: “Can I help?” *I am thrown off by the question, because it’s usually an adult that asks*

Me: “Sure, thank you!” *the older girl grabs the last of the items in the cart*

Younger Girl: “I didn’t get to help.”

Me: “It’s the thought that counts.” *I feel a little bad; she truly does want to help*

Their Father: “You can help her put the bags in the cart.”

(The father and girls talk, joke, and laugh while I wait to pay for my items. It’s a nice change to hear a parent interacting with the kids and keeping everything light and happy, as all the other parents I see in the store this night ignore or yell at their kids. When my items are being bagged the father tells them to help. I get one bag, the older girl gets another and then helps her little sister with the last bag.)

Me: “Thank you, girls!” *and then I thank the father*

(The father helped renew some of my faith in the future generations. Not only did the girls happily help, but they didn’t stare. They looked a little, but I wouldn’t expect anything less from younger kids. To the father: Thank you so much! I’m used to doing things on my own, but to be offered help when I’m obviously tired and struggling means so much to me, especially after waiting to see if I had things handled or was struggling. And the fact that you are raising your girls to be respectful to others is heartwarming.)

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Pay It Forward: Christmas Special

| BC, Canada | Holidays, Pay It Forward

(I’m on the bus on the way to my hometown to visit my family and friends over Christmas. I’ve been on the bus all night. We’ve stopped at gas stations but this is our first stop at a place with hot food, and we still have 3 hours to go, and I’ve walked from the bus depot while it is about -40.)

Me: “Okay, can I get a coffee, and an egg and cheese breakfast sandwich, no meat? On debit, please.”

Cashier: “It says your card’s declined. Want to try again? Any cash?”

(No cash, and I try again, still no dice.)

Me: *tired, hungry and almost in tears* “Sorry, it didn’t work. Thank you anyway.”

Cashier: “Look, you know what honey? Take it.”

Me: “What?”

Cashier: “Take the sandwich, hon. You look like you need it right now. Just do one thing for me, OK?”

Me: “OK, what’s that?”

Cashier: “Pay it forward. Next time you see someone you can help, help ’em. And have a Merry Christmas.”

(Now that’s the holiday spirit for you. I keep her in mind whenever I see someone who needs help now.)

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Feeling Plush This Christmas

| Marion, VA, USA | Holidays

(I work a part-time job as a bagger at a grocery store and have recently moved into an apartment that I don’t quite make enough money to afford without using my savings. It’s my first time living alone and it has been very stressful. On top of that, the second job I applied to and was pinning my hopes on just contacted me to tell me I didn’t get the position. All told, I was having a bad day and feeling very down. Then two events happened during the same shift.)

(First Event:)

Me: *bagging groceries for an older lady, noticing a small snowman plushy* “Oh, he’s just so cute!”

Older Lady: “Isn’t he?”

(I continue to bag, playing a little with the very soft plushy the whole time. When it comes time to finish and bag the toy, I ask the lady a question.)

Me: “He’s just so adorable! I want to get one. Where were they located?”

Older Lady: “I got the last one. Here, I’ll give him to you as a Christmas present; you can have him. I only got him because I thought he was cute.”

(I protest, saying that I can’t do that to her, but she insists. Eventually, I accept, a bit overwhelmed that a stranger would give me a Christmas gift like this, on a day I am feeling so down.)

Old Lady: “Merry Christmas!”

Me: “Thank you! Merry Christmas!”

(Second Event:)

(I am called up to the front office by a manager and told that the head cashier, the boss of the front end, needs me for something in the computer room, the enclosed room where the money is counted, among other things. I go, expecting to be given a task. The lights are off in the room and my boss is there with another manager.)

Me: “I was told you wanted me for something?”

Boss: “Yes, that’s right. I have something for you. Merry Christmas!” *gestures*

(I look, and there is a miniature artificial Christmas tree, decorated and lighted up, sitting on the counter.)

Boss: “Now your apartment will have a tree!”

(Much hugging and thanking ensued. I’m truly blessed and amazed with my work family.)

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Secret Santa’s Little Helper

| Bay Area, CA, USA | Holidays

(I am counting tills at the end of the night while my manager is writing the daily recap. This manager organized Secret Santa for all the associates. The associates are leaving for the night. Associate knocks on the door and Manager lets him into the office.)

Me: “Hey, [Associate]! What’s up?”

Associate: “Uh, not much. Can I see the people who signed up for Secret Santa?”

Manager: “Oh, did you want to join?”

Me: “It’s kind of late; we’re already exchanging gifts.”

Associate: “I don’t want to get anything. I just want to give more gifts.”

(Manager and I blink but don’t hesitate to give him the list of people that signed up.)

Associate: “Okay, I want to choose, like, two guys and two girls. Maybe someone I don’t really know either. Please don’t tell anyone it’s from me. I just wanted to do something nice this Christmas.”

(This associate has always been a sweet person but I never would have expected this. Thank you for your kindness this Christmas season. I’m sure they appreciated it!)

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Taking The Time, To Take Your Time

| WI, USA | Awesome, Holidays

(I work in a mom and pop pharmacy in high school. We have an elderly woman come in one day for her medications and they aren’t ready. Most people would get really angry and yell if they weren’t done yet, so inside I’m already cringing.)

Me: “Ma’am, I’m sorry, but the pharmacist hasn’t quite finished with your prescriptions yet.”

Customer: “Oh, that’s okay, dear. You tell him to take his time. I haven’t had a chance to read the paper yet today.” *goes and sits down in the waiting area and picks up the newspaper we keep there for customers and waits a good 10, 15 minutes*

Me: “Ma’am, I’m sorry for the wait, but they’re ready now.”

Customer: “Oh, good, thank you so much.” *chats with me about school and things while I’m completing the transaction, showing great interest in me personally* “Now, dear, I know this isn’t much, but I’m so glad you helped me. Here, get yourself a soda.” *puts 50 cents in my hand* “You have a great day, sweetie.”

(I stood there staring in surprise, because no customer had ever made me feel like anything more than an NPC in their life before. My boss then came out, and told me that this lady always gave the cashiers a little something, even though she was on a fixed income. They had a jar in back with her name on it, and if I was willing, we saved all those tips and bought her something nice at Christmas. I didn’t keep the money.)